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Mexican authorities made what one official described as a “historic seizure” of fentanyl in a warehouse earlier this month.
Mexico’s Defense Department said the warehouse was located in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, home to the infamous drug cartel of the same name. Ten men were arrested.
Soldiers also found a half-ton of meth in the July 2 raid, as well as cocaine, opium and at least 70 tons of precursor chemicals.
Assistant Public Safety Secretary Ricardo Mejia called it the largest seizure in history of fentanyl. He estimated the 1,200 pounds of fentanyl found at the warehouse had a black market value of around $230 million.
MEXICAN DRUG CARTEL LEADER EXTRADITED TO US FACES CHARGES OF IMPORTING MORE THAN 1100 POUNDS OF METH TO MIAMI
Synthetic opioids like fentanyl have been behind a major increase in overdose deaths in the United States. Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and as little as two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal.
Fentanyl is usually pressed into counterfeit pills made to look like Xanax, Adderall or Oxycodone, or mixed into other drugs. That has led to tens of thousands of overdose deaths in the United States because people often do not realize they are taking fentanyl.
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The amount found at the warehouse could have produced millions of the counterfeit pills, however the purity was unclear. Almost all fentanyl smuggled into the United States comes from Mexico, where it is produced with precursor chemicals smuggled from China.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers have called on the Biden administration to secure the border amid a historic surge in illegal crossings, which include human traffickers, drug cartel operatives, and smugglers bringing fentanyl and other illegal drugs into the United States. Illegally-made fentanyl is fueling a historic rate of addiction and overdose deaths across the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.